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Why do so many earthquakes strike Nepal?

Dristi Sharma
Dristi SharmaNov 10, 2022 | 19:29

Why do so many earthquakes strike Nepal?

The November 9 (Wednesday) earthquake killed at least six people in Nepal and the tremors were felt in Delhi also. Of the six people who were killed, four were children. Several houses were destroyed in the foothills of the Himalayas.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) measured the quake at magnitude 5.6 and said it occurred at a depth of around 15.7 km. Nepal's seismological centre put it at magnitude 6.6. 

But why is Nepal so prone to so many earthquakes?  

Nepal is so vulnerable to quakes due to its location. To understand this, let's get into just a little geology:  

Large tectonic plates make up the crust of the Earth. These land masses, which contain entire continents, are in motion and colliding with one another all the time.
Nepal sits on the boundary of two massive tectonic plates - the Indo-Australian and the Asian plates. It is the collision of these plates that has produced the Himalayan mountains, with them, the earthquakes.


At a rate of roughly 5cm every year, these are being pushed up against and underneath one another. Although it may not seem like much, when this force piles up, an earthquake is an outcome, which is quite disastrous.

  • Because of its weak buildings, which cannot survive strong earthquakes, Nepal's situation gets more complicated.
  • In addition to all of this, the growing population is simply the final ingredient in the recipe for a catastrophe.

United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) ranks Nepal 11th on the list of the most vulnerable country to earthquakes and Nepal's capital Katmandu is one of the top cities prone to earthquakes.  

However, this is not the first time, that Nepal has seen such a disastrous earthquake. In fact, Nepal is still recovering from the 2015 earthquake that left almost 8,000 people dead. Many historic and century-old temples and some towns were left with nothing but ruins. It was estimated that the quake gave at least a $6 billion blow to the Nepal economy.  

Here are some of the most deadliest earthquakes in Nepal's history: 

  • Nepal-Bihar Earth Quake (January 15, 1934 ): It was one of the worst earthquakes in history. 
Photo: 1934 Earthquake's destruction (Facebook)

Magnitude: 8.0 
People Died: 10,700-12,000

  • Nepal-India Border Earthquake (July 29, 1980): Occurred in the evening northwest of Khaptad National Park. 

Magnitude: 6.0
People died:  200 and 5,600 were injured

  • Kathmandu earthquake (August 21, 1988): Occurred in Nepal near the Indian border and affected much of northern Bihar. 

Magnitude: 6.9

People died: 709 and 1,000s were injured

    Last updated: November 10, 2022 | 19:29
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